With this review I’m going to try a slightly different style. Rather than structure it like a site review, I’m going to simply free-write and state my opinions on the major aspects of the anime in paragraph form. I hope it works and is informative. Also note that I have not read the manga, and (for manga readers) the anime only covers up to right before the "timeskip."
Usagi Drop is a manga I’ve heard about for a while but never got around to reading, primarily because I’m not much of a manga reader, preferring anime, light novels, and some yonkoma manga as opposed to ones that tell a coherent story. What really drew me into watching the anime was that Production I.G. was animating it. Having just watched Kimi Ni Todoke Season 2, I knew that this studio would adapt the manga well, and I was not disappointed.
The story is life itself. Never before have I seen an anime of any genre be so ordinary and true to the reality of the world in which we live. All other anime I’ve seen either require an extraordinary premise or interesting character archetypes to make the plot interesting. Usagi Drop uses the very bare minimum amount of unusualness to start the story, the death of Daikichi’s grandfather and his adoption of Rin, and then allows it to coast in reflection of a rather ordinary life, as if the characters were people living in the real world. If you’ve read my review of Toradora, you know I love these kinds of stories, as they prompt self-reflection. Usagi Drop in particular provokes a unique kind of reflection, especially for a late-adolescent such as myself. As a teenager, I still am attached to my childhood in a way beyond a dim nostalgic memory. However, since I’m a legal adult, I see the world of adulthood creeping ever closer, which allows me to relate slightly to the troubles of an “inexperienced” adult like Daikichi.
That’s really the entire essence of why I enjoyed this anime, and I don’t want to overanalyze it any more than that. I’ll address the other obligatory major points. The animation was very similar to the style of Kimi Ni Todoke, often looking like watercolors at times. I enjoyed this style as it was both fluid yet simple, reinforcing the ordinariness of the setting. The characters, as I alluded to, are largely very down to earth, and interact with each other realistically. It was almost as if I were watching someone else’s home movies, only less awkward and much more entertaining. The music was sufficient, emotional at times but largely forgettable. The anime provided the best OP/ED tandem of the summer season in my opinion. The voice acting was excellent, and added to the realistic form of the characters.
Overall, I think Usagi Drop is really for the slice of life lover. If the idea of “ordinariness” bores you, then avoid this anime. But as John Grogan, author of Marley and Me, said (paraphrased), “In capturing the usual I seem to have captured the universal.” That’s why I strongly believe that there is an audience for an anime like Usagi Drop, in a world where an anime about the ordinary is one of a kind and therefore extraordinary.